C.G. asks from Naperville, IL on June 20, 2012
What Would You Say? Baby's Food Sensitivity Vs. Grandma
So I am just looking for some reassurance and suggestions on how you would handle this situation. It caught me off guard, and I am just flipping mad about it. Sorry if it's a bit long.
My baby is 8 months old, and I still BF exclusively for liquids although he's well on his way into eating solid food. So far he has gotten hives all over his face when trying yogurt, cheese, and less than 1/2 oz. of formula. He obviously has a food sensitivity or possibly an allergy to dairy, so we will wait on trying any of these again or any other dairy for a while.
At a get-together last weekend, my mother (his grandma), thought it would be funny or something to give him a bite of frosting from a birthday cake. She knows about his reactions, and I even reiterated to her that he has reacted to any dairy he's been exposed to, while we were sitting there. Frosting is made from MILK and sugar, two things an 8 month old does not need to have. She proceeded to argue with me that it didn't matter because the milk in the frosting is processed and therefore is different from the other dairy. That makes absolutely no sense, because as far as I know when frosting is made the milk is just mixed with the sugar. Anyways, she proceeded to stick the forkful in his mouth, saying "Mmmm, sugar, yummm!" He barely ate any, most of it got spit out, and he didn't react, but seriously? I was so angry I just quietly walked away, with my baby.
I feel so disrespected by my own mother right now that she would actually do something like this. Is it a grandma thing to think it's funny to feed babies sugar? Babies don't care. I'm just trying to understand this. She knows I'm careful about what he eats, and all he eats is mostly organic food, breastmilk, and rice puffs or cheerios. As I've done for my other child, I make everything he eats homemade, because it's comforting to me. If she would do that to get a rise out of me, I think that is so disrespectful. Not to mention the fact that he has reactions to dairy!
So I guess my question is, would you bring this up again to her, and what would you say? I don't want to cause a major argument, but I just don't think it was appropriate, and I'm just plain hurt by it. Am I overreacting?
Thanks for any input!
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for the responses! It definitely puts it in perspective to see so many different views on the issue. My main concern was with her doing something I asked her not to, for the reasons of his allergy or sensitivity. If it wasn't for that, I would be part of the eye-roll at grandma things club and just go about my business :). Nobody in my family has any type of food allergy, so this is all new to me and the fact he is still so young (8 mos) makes me even more cautious, since there hasn't been an actual diagnosis yet.
My other child (daughter - almost 3), eats very healthy, but she is no stranger to sugary treats, party food, friday night pizza, etc. We've never said "no" to anything with her and she is a very balanced kid because of it. If she has a bowl of ice cream, she'll eat as much as she feels like eating, then be done with it (it's usually not close to all of it, so I hardly monitor it). She was babysat by grandma one day per week for 2 years before I became a SAHM, and during regular babysitting times they were "supposed to" follow my rules, but during other times, it was whatever special spoiling the grandparents felt was necessary :). I hope the same will happen for my son, but just not quite yet, especially because of the allergy. I think grandparents are special, and should be priveledged to do special things with their grandkids, but I don't appreciate being disrespected on a simple request here or there. Especially one that could potentially endanger my baby.
I am going to talk to her next time I get some alone time with her, and calmly but firmly explain that I am the mom, these are my kids, and if I ask her not to do something that makes me very uncomfortable here or there, I would appreciate it if she respected my wishes or I will have to remove my kids from the situation. I am also going to have to explain the allergy issue to her, and that this is a no-give issue. I still need to learn more about it, and I'm sure she thinks she already knows everything about it (as she does everything...), but I'll just hope she listens. If not, unforunately my son will not be out of my sight around her. I am terrified of him having an anaphlactic reaction or something else awful happening since his exposure has been so minor thus far. She can be tricky to talk to (see: she thinks she already knows everything), so I really hope she will take me seriously so I don't have to enter a more complicated situation.
Thanks again for all of the input mamas!
T.M. answers from Redding on June 20, 2012
"Mom, seriously, why do you do these things when I've kindly asked you not to?" "Please let me mother my child the way I want to." "You raised me to be a good mother, I'm trying to do that, please quit sabotaging my efforts and start trusting MY instincts, PLEASE!"
4 moms found this helpful
J.M. answers from Missoula on June 20, 2012
If your son didn't have the food sensitivities, I would tell you to chill out and accept the fact that grandparents are going to spoil their grand kids... It's one of those things that I feel is annoying to the parent, but special to the grandparent. Whatever...
BUT, your son DOES have reactions... So she needs to respect your wishes. When it comes to something that is actually dangerous for the child, Mommy's rules are unbendable.
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D.. answers from Charlotte on June 20, 2012
C., maybe there HAS to be a major argument. I don't know any other way that you are going to get across to her that she can't do this.
If your baby didn't have an allergic response to foods, I would let it go. But he does. You are doing all the right things at this point. Perhaps in the coming years he'll be able to tolerate dairy, but certainly not now.
I think you have to tell her that she is costing herself the possibility of babysitting EVER because she let you know that you cannot trust her to abide by your wishes in regards to your baby. In fact, you're going to have to hover from now on when she is around him.
Next time, don't argue. Pick up the baby and leave. You let her give him the frosting and then stewed about it. No more. You have to put up a stink. If not verbally, then by removing the baby from her presence.
Until she says to you that she understands and respects your position and will go by your wishes, don't give her an inch.
If I were you, I'd go over when your child has a breakout and let her SEE what happens to him. She needs educating.
8 moms found this helpful
L.F. answers from Chicago on June 20, 2012
My husband gave our daughter a taste of ice cream when she was probably eight months old. At the time, I wasn't aware of any of her allergies. I did notice that she had a slight rash around her mouth after eating the ice cream. I didn't think much of it though.
Two months later when my daughter was 10 months old, she used her hand to TOUCH the whipped cream that was on top of a Starbucks frappucino sample I got at the grocery store. She had horrible anaphylaxis, and by the time I got her to the ER, the triage nurse thought she was a burn victim because of her hives.
Allergies are unpredictable and are not to be taken lightly. If you can educate your mother on the potential dangers of food allergies, maybe she won't make such bonehead decisions about feeding your baby anything that you have warned her about. She probably thinks you're just being too uptight about your baby's diet and feels like it is a criticism of her own mothering skills. That is a completely separate issue and should be treated as such.
I would definitely bring up the allergy thing again with her. If she won't do right by your son's dietary restrictions, then she can't be trusted with him. You're not overreacting.
7 moms found this helpful
S.H. answers from Honolulu on June 20, 2012
1) So is this the first time your Mom disrespected you and overstepped you and gave something to your baby????
2) She did it intentionally. That would piss me off.
But I don't understand... was your Mom holding the baby or you? Or was baby in a high chair? The reason I ask is: if my Mom was about to do that... but I was holding my own baby... I simply would have stood up and carried my baby away. So Mom would NOT put that fork in my baby's mouth.
So I don't understand... "how" your Mom, actually go that fork of frosting, in your baby's mouth, after you EXPLAINED to her, about his allergies etc.
And instead of reiterating to your Mom and debating to her ,about your son's allergies... just say NO to her. Don't explain why. JUST as your Mom was putting that frosting fork toward your son, I would have said NO... NO frosting and I would have scooped my baby up and walked away before she got that frosting fork in his mouth.
3) Your Mom... seems to have done that... in order to IRK you. On purpose and to on purpose, annoy you and get you irritated and mad.
She didn't do it for baby. She did it to get you, mad. On purpose.
She did not seem, benevolent about it, at all. Nor respectful.
4) I do NOT believe in the notion that Grandparents are supposed to "spoil" their Grandchildren with sugar or treats. That is not their "job."
My kids' Grandma and their relatives, do not do this with my kids. They ask first, if they can give my kids something. There is Diabetes, in my family.
And they do not know, of whatever allergies my kids may have.
There are other ways to "spoil" Grandchildren.
My kids' Grandma/relatives, do not do it with sugar or sugary treats. They "spoil" my kids in other ways.
5) The issue here is: IF your Mom, routinely disregards you and disrespects you... about your baby, then SHE is having problems with you and her own personality issues, and is against you for whatever reason. AND... in turn, she is also... disrespecting your Husband... he is the baby's Dad.
Sure, pick your battles.
But to me.... your Mom was not being kind or funny or benevolent, when she did the fork in your baby's mouth with frosting, stunt. Even after you reiterated to her... about your baby's allergies.
I would not leave your baby alone with her.
There is no way to predict, what or how she will feed him.
She obviously ignores what you say. About his food intake.
What happened with the frosting in your son's mouth... is but one incident. So, you need to know... how to handle it and your Mom, from here on out and in the future. Your son will get older each month and year... and you need to get some boundaries out there, with your Mom. Sooner the better. You and Husband are the parents.
**ADDING THIS: as my kids got older, from 2 years old... I TAUGHT my kids, that me and my Hubby are the parents. That we decide things for them. Not others. Not even Grandma. So basically, we taught them the "totem pole" of adults in their life. And so that... THEY did not get warped ideas about what they can/cannot do, or eat or get or buy or so forth. My kids, will actually TELL their relatives or friends "I have to ask Mommy/Daddy first..." and they will even tell Grandma "Can I use your cell phone to ask Mommy first?"
So, basically, I have taught my kids how to DISCERN offers, to them, by others. And how to say no. And how to speak up. And HOW to know... the "pecking order" of what is offered to them to eat or wear or buy etc.
My kids are 5 and 9 now... and they are good, at it. In a respectful way.
My kids have this one bossy Aunty though. And even if their Aunt could be offering them a HUMUNGOUS chocolate covered mountain of a dessert at a fancy restaurant (which Aunty did do this one time)... my kids WILL tell Aunty "I have to ask Mommy first..." and they will call me. Or they will say "I'm full... I'm not in the mood for that. Thanks anyway." They don't let Aunty boss them. They know my/my Husband's "rules." And they know... Aunty is bossy and will try to get them to eat things. Although Aunty loves them and they love her.
So because my kids, speak up.... bossy Aunty has "learned" that she can't push her weight around, nor by-pass, me.
5 moms found this helpful
N.G. answers from Dallas on June 20, 2012
I don't think you're overreacting, C., he is your child, and what he eats is your choice. You have made your choices for him clear, and there's NO reason I can fathom that your mother couldn't or shouldn't respect that.
I'm very liberal when it comes to what I feed my kids, so I will often do a mental eye roll when I see mothers hovering over what their kids eat, but I do not have to agree with what YOU choose for YOUR child, but I DO have to respect it.
I'd be pretty pissed off about it too.
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T.M. answers from Tampa on June 20, 2012
I really don't understand why you need to explain your position to her. She already knew that your child had problems with dairy and you had asked her NOT to give him these things. SHE DID IT ANYWAY!!!!! You need to firmly tell her that you are the Mom and this will go your way. End. Of. Story.
5 moms found this helpful
R.J. answers from Seattle on June 20, 2012
Ditto SH (love that!)
When I say no, I mean no. I pick my battles, but I stand my ground... Which my mum learned early on. Why? Because if I said 'no', and she did it anyway, I voted with my feet. Took my son, smiled and told everyone goodbye, and left. Once, right in the middle of dinner... Another time calling in 'sick'/no childcare (and arranged other childcare.
One nice thing about this culture is that mom trumps gran. (Not true for all cultures).
Are there different rules at Nonna's house? Yep. Is kiddo treated/spoiled by Nonna? Of course. But my rules trump. It doesn't matter if she says yes, when I say no, or vice versa. I choose my battles, and I'm far more lax with her than on my own.... But I 'win' period if it's any battle I choose. It doesn't matter WHAT the issue is.
With my mum, this works grand. We've had clearly defined boundaries since early on, but they were DEFINED via trial and error. The first of which is 'check with mom', and the 2nd of which is respecting mom's wishes. Doesn't mean she can't argue/debate/suggest/etc. she can and does, and I can see her point/come to agree about 1:3. We have a great relationship, both as friends AND as mom and gran AND as mother/daughter.
Those are 3 VERY DIFFERENT relationships. And all 3 took some work and mutual respect on both our parts.
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K.M. answers from Kansas City on June 20, 2012
What she did was very disrespectful! What she did was not accidental, it was intentional. I would bring it up to her. I would focus on the fact that she knowingly ignored your request to not give your son cake. It's not about whether you or she believes dairy and sugar are harmful to your child, it's about respecting the decision you make for your child. This will continue to come up as he gets older...bed times, soda, candy, etc. If you say bed time is 8pm, you don't want her keeping him up until 10 because she thought it was okay.
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